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Implementing Academic Accommodations

A guide for course instructors/departments/schools on implementing common academic accommodations in post secondary

Exams and Sudden Illness NOT Related to Disability

Students are informed when they register with Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) that they should assess their medical situation and well-being prior to beginning any exams. Students are informed that if they miss an exam, test or quiz for reasons unrelated to their disability (cold, flu, etc.), they are to contact their course instructor directly.

The CAL exam centre does not have or take authority to permit a student to write their exam on an alternate date. In the event that a student does not complete an exam and has communicated illness to the course instructor, and the course instructor decides a re-write is appropriate, CAL exam advisors will work with the course instructor and the student to find an appropriate alternate date that the CAL exam centre can provide invigilation for. Communication from the course instructor can be sent to to find an appropriate alternate date.

Exams and Sudden Illness Related to Disability

Occasionally students with disabilities registered with CAL may experience an sudden presentation of illness associated with their disability given either its episodic and/or unpredictable nature (e.g. chronic health, mental health, respiratory health, etc.) When this occurs, on or around the time of when an exam or test is scheduled (before the exam starts), they may request permission to make up lost marks through another evaluation.

In these cases, course instructors or departments can:

  • prepare an alternate type evaluation that meets the same learning outcomes
  • reassign the weight of the exam to a different exam (i.e. reweight to the final)
  • prepare another exam of equivalent value as a make-up
  • if there are no concerns about academic integrity, permit the student to write the original exam at another date/time

Sometimes a student will arrive at the CAL exam centre presenting with an acute, disability-related illness immediately before an exam starts Students in these cases often think they must complete the exam regardless of their presenting health concern.

In these cases, CAL employees take the following steps

Assess student readiness:

  • Is the student so incapacitated that they cannot write the exam?
  • If incapacitated, recommend student seeks medical attention
  • Is the health situation related to their disability?

Discuss options:

If incapacitated due to their disability,

  • Discuss with the student, informing them they do not need to write the exam if they choose not to.
  • Inform the student if they choose to start the exam, there wouldn't be an option to make up the marks later if they do not do as well as hoped

If student chooses not to write:

  • Let them know they can leave and that their course instructor will be informed by the CAL exam advisor that they did not start the exam due to disability related reasons.
  • Let them know to reach out to the course instructor to discuss options.

Contact course instructor via email:

  • To report the student did not start the exam due to acute presenting disability related illness.
  • Identify potential new date and time options for CAL invigilation should the course instructor choose to prepare a make-up exam in the short-term future
  • Identify that the student has been advised to be in touch with course instructor as soon as they can
  • Leave it to the course instructor to consider and respond and if a make-up exam will be the plan, work with the student and instructor to reschedule it at an agreed upon time

Contact the student's CAL Instructor via email or in person

  • To keep them informed what happened
  • The CAL Instructor may reach out to the student or course instructor or both to discuss other potential implications for the future of the course and any academic accommodations